Welcome to the fifth episode of the Visionaries podcast! Today, we have two awesome co-founders to introduce: Nikki Parks from Campfire Coworks and Jazmin Gorski from Bonfire. Both are creating a buzz in the coworking world from the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Their journey began with Campfire Coworks, a coworking space in a small rural town. The Chamber of Commerce initially launched it but faced some funding challenges. Then, a previous founder, Keith London, saw the potential and rebranded it as Campfire Coworks, kicking off Nikki and Jazmin's co-working adventure.
Nikki and her husband were digital nomads who struggled to find a reliable coworking spot. But when they discovered Campfire Coworks, it was a game-changer. They teamed up with Keith to grow the co-working community and knew others would benefit too.
Jazmin joined the team, bringing her physical therapy clinic expertise. With her skills, they transformed the space, making it even better with the help of andcards, their coworking software provider.
Campfire Coworks flourished over three years, drawing interest from others who wanted to join or start their own co-working spaces. So, Nikki and Jazmin launched Bonfire, a parent company, to guide and support others in starting coworking spaces. They take away the tech and business stresses so people can focus on building fantastic coworking communities.
Their mission is simple:
"We want to help you build that kind of engagement and take away all the stresses that we had to go through, all the learning curves and pains, so you can get to the fun part - meeting other passionate entrepreneurs, founders, and remote workers, collaborating, and building cool stuff."
Join us for an inspiring conversation with Nikki and Jazmin as they share their incredible coworking journey, challenges, and positive impact on their community and beyond.
It's a podcast episode you will want to attend!
We transformed our non-profit coworking space into a for-profit organization by offering various rental options, expanding our studio space, and focusing on building a community and fostering interactions among our members.
Our main revenue streams come from monthly rentals and office memberships, and during the tourist season, day passes attract visitors.
Our coworking space covers 6000 sq. ft. and is located in the heart of downtown, close to the harbor and local attractions. We create a creative studio vibe with a camping and glamping theme, including live plants and greenery.
While the location has perks as a tourist destination, the rural setting posed challenges that we addressed with high-speed fiber Internet. Our coworking space is crucial in bringing people together, building meaningful relationships, and creating a transformative experience, fostering collaboration and support within the community.
Our coworking space has had a significant impact on our community. It has empowered local entrepreneurs, attracted talent and funding, and benefited the entire local economy.
The establishment of our coworking space has led to a positive shift, with more people choosing to stay and invest their skills locally, even attracting those who had previously left to come back.
It is a foundation for larger ventures, like the space debris collection company funded by NASA and the Space Force. It can now hire locally and create exciting opportunities within the region.
Rural coworking spaces like ours are essential in providing opportunities that would not otherwise exist in our local region, fostering a thriving business community where we love to be.
Absolutely! Our co-working community has had a profound impact on our members. We've witnessed personal growth and transformation as individuals found paths, started businesses, and embraced new opportunities. The connections and support within our space have been instrumental in their journey, fostering a strong sense of community and collaboration. We're proud to keep the spirit of entrepreneurship alive in our small town and are excited to expand our impact to other communities through Bonfire.
Our future initiatives involve building Bonfire and expanding our impact by helping other communities establish coworking spaces. We're eager to extend our reach internationally, learning from European coworking spaces and fostering collaborations with like-minded owners to improve the coworking experience. We embrace competition and believe in creating diverse spaces that cater to various needs, ultimately empowering entrepreneurs and businesses to flourish.
Thank you for joining us on this remarkable journey as we delved into the world of coworking and entrepreneurship, uncovering inspiring stories and valuable insights along the way. Our conversation with Nikki Parks and Jazmin Gorski from Campfire Coworks and Bonfire has shown us the incredible impact that coworking spaces can have on communities, empowering individuals to thrive and fostering genuine connections.
But our exploration doesn't end here.
Our next destination is POLARIS, a coworking space in Birmingham, AL, where creativity and community intertwine to foster a platform for dreams to take flight. Get ready for more captivating discussions and unique perspectives from coworking leaders around the globe.
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Thank you for embarking on this enlightening journey with us, and we look forward to welcoming you back next time!